LONG BEACH — Michael Doucet & Beausoleil, accordionist C. J. Chenier and veteran fiddler Canray Fontenot will headline the fifth annual Southern California Cajun-Zydeco Festival on June 1 and 2 in Long Beach.
Wayne Toups & Zydecajuns and Joe Simien & the Country Boys round out the list of performers from Louisiana who will appear at the same Rainbow Lagoon site where last year's festival took place. California-based opening acts will include Wilfred Latour & the Zydeco Goodtime Aces and the Zydeco Party Band, both from Los Angeles, and the Bay Area's Sun Dogs.
Beausoleil, Chenier, Toups and Fontenot (who will play with the Poullard Brothers) will play both days. The remaining groups will be split between Saturday and Sunday.
Most of the acts have appeared at earlier festivals here. But this will be the first Southern California performance for Fontenot who, in his late '60s, is "the last of the real old-timers" in Cajun music, festival organizer Franklin Zawacki said Monday.
The first Southern California Cajun-Zydeco Festival--a two-day, morning-till-night event with music, dancing, food and special events for children, modeled after festivals that Zawacki has run in San Francisco and Rhode Island for more than 10 years--took place at the John Anson Ford Theater in Los Angeles in 1987. Two years later, the site was changed to Carson and then, last year, to Long Beach.
"Last year we got to the break-even point (financially)," Zawacki said, adding: "We really felt welcomed into Long Beach. We got letters from fans who said 'Keep it up' and so on. And the city liked us because we cleaned up nicely."
"The only thing we fell down on was the food," he continued, referring to several concessionaires whose failure to show up resulted in lines that were "the longest in our history" at those booths that were open for business. "We're absolutely going out of our way to beef up the food this year."
Tickets will be $15 per day at the door ($12.50 for students and seniors; children under 12 free). Advance tickets are available for $12.50 by mail from Cajun Music, 495 14th Ave. Suite 9, San Francisco, Calif. 94118. Information: (415) 386-8577.